As we approach Memorial Day, I think all citizens of the United States need to remember its purpose, which is to remember those who died while serving in the U.S. military. has a great overview of the day’s significance at Over the years, however, many have come to confuse Memorial Day with Veterans Day. The days are actually very different. I recommend for a great overview of the significance of Veterans Day. 

Both days provide an opportunity for us to reflect, learn, and, most of all, teach our fellow citizens about service and history.

Last year, American Legion Post 488 (veterans who wear the deep blue caps) and Sons of the American Legion Squadron 488 (sons and male relatives of those who have served in the military who wear light blue caps) focused on the annual Memorial Day event which always draws a great crowed. 

Led and organized by Coach Thomas Sisulak (commander of the Squadron 488), the event is a source of pride for the village of Riverside and every member of the post and the squadron. 

As the membership of Post 488 and Squadron 488 has expanded across state lines, the recording of the Memorial Day event by Riverside TV is now seen by old and new members alike across the country. 

In addition, Post 488 and Squadron 488, under the efforts of James Connolly of Brookfield (vice-commander of Squadron 488), began passing out traditional poppies at the Memorial Day event. Sadly, it was apparent that many did not understand the significance of poppies. 

Furthermore, both units began to encourage more members to participate in the Hold Oral History Program managed by the Pritzker Miliary Museum and Library. Our annual advertisement in the Landmark 2022 Answer Book focused on the need for our veterans to tell their stories to current and future generations. 

The previous year, 2021, we lost our former commander, Richard A. “Dick” Dolejs. Fortunately, for all of us, his oral history will live on with us and for future generations at

This year, Commander Sisulak is once again leading the effort to put on an incredible Memorial Day event. Everyone is grateful to him. During the event, a 1945 Gold Star Citation will be presented to the family of Lt. Richard Jicka who was killed in action during World War II. 

In addition, Post 488 and Squadron #488 are sponsoring a different advertisement in The Landmark 2023 Answer Book, copies of which will be in the May 31 edition of the Landmark.

The advertisement will once again promote the Holt Oral History Program, but it will also promote an understanding of the history behind the poppy and the POW-MIA flag. Both are symbols of remembrance and highly appropriate on Memorial Day and every day of the year. Jim Connolly as well as Alex Gallegos (co-adjutant of Sons of American Legion Squadron 488) will be handing out poppies around the community and at the Memorial Day event. 

As the weather has been brutal to the United States flag at the Guthrie Park Gold Star Memorial, Post 488 and Squadron 488 have decided to use donations for poppies to purchase new United States flags for the village to fly over the memorial. 

Both units have also decided to use poppy donations to replace unserviceable POW-MIA flags used by the village of Riverside. Both units collectively voted over two years ago to ask the village of Riverside to fly the POW-MIA flag under the United States flag at the memorial year around as is common practice and/or required by law in other locations around the country.

Joseph Baar Topinka, commander American Legion Post 488